A is for Armada dishes, which will be presented to Izzy Taylor, Louise Harwood, Joseph Murphy, Bettina Hoy and Blyth Tait this year to celebrate them respectively achieving five Badminton completions. Congratulations guys, let’s hope you make it six, as all of the above are competing this year.
B is for Bradeley Law, the 12-year-old gelding of Michael Owen. Despite Michael’s vast experience, Badminton will be the first 4* for this horse.
C is for Cathal Daniels, who is by far the youngest competitor at this year’s event. The Irishman may be the youngest, but he already has a wealth of experience having been a gold medallist at pony and junior level. Despite being his first Badminton, this is not his first 4* – Last year, he finished a very respectable 12th place at Pau with the Badminton-bound, Rioghan Rua.
D is for debutantes, of which there are 29 in this year’s field. The likes of Willa Newton, Tom Jackson, Lissa Green and Sarah Parkes will all be sporting their dressage top and tails for the first ever time at this event.
E is for Eric Winter, the new Badminton cross country course designer for 2017. We can’t wait to see what his track has in store.
F is for forty-six – The total number of competitors who completed Badminton in 2016.
G is for Gilruth – Emily Gilruth, who will be competing the only stallion this year. Topwood Beau, a 16.1hh bay gelding has been brought through the rankings by Emily and has proven he has 4* quality. He jumped clear across the country last year, but sadly was withdrawn prior to the show jumping because he lost a shoe.
H is for history. The very first Badminton was held in 1949 and saw only 22 combinations compete. It has been an annual event since then, only being cancelled on six occasions due to adverse weather conditions and an outbreak of foot and mouth disease.
I is for Imogen Murray, who will be the youngest Brit competing in 2017, at just 23. Her mount, Ivar Gooden will also be one of the younger horses competing, having been foaled in 2007. The pair finished 12th at last year’s Blenheim CCI3*.
J is for Jean Teulere, who at 63 years young, will be the oldest competitor to storm around this year’s track. The Frenchman has plenty of experience, however, being a frequent competitor for his home Nation at Championship level.
K is for Kieffer, Lauren Kieffer, the Badminton debutante drawn first in the running order. Despite boasting Olympic experience for the USA, this will be her first appearance at Badminton. She has the luxury of two mounts, her second ride being the vastly experience mare, Veronica.
L is for the Lakeside Complex, where you can watch all the cross-country action in front of the live big screen, with all-day access to all the food and drink you could possibly want. The stuff of dreams!
M is for Michael Jung, not that you need telling! The Olympic champion and last year’s winner of the coveted Rolex Grand Slam comes to Gloucestershire in defence of his Badminton crown.
N is Nicholson – Andrew Nicholson, who holds the record for most Badminton completions, but he is still yet to be victorious. Could 2017 be his year with either Nereo or Qwanza?
O is for Olympians – There are a staggering 36 Olympians in this year’s field of competitors, including the likes of Blyth Tait, Mark Todd, Christopher Burton and Nicola Wilson, all of whom will be eying the ultimate prize.
P is for Portersize Just a Jiff, who proves that size really does not matter where Eventing is concerned. At a mere 15.1hh, he will be the smallest mount to fly around this year’s track, piloted by the vastly experience Camilla Speirs of Ireland. He is only 0.1 of a hand taller than the smallest mounts ever to compete at Badminton.
Q is for questions, of which there will be 30 for combinations to face on Saturday’s cross-country course. Altogether, there will be 47 jumping efforts and the optimum time will be within the region of 11.46 minutes. Game on!
R is for representation. There will be 14 different Nations represented in this year’s competition. They are Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Great Britain, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, New Zealand, Sweden and the USA. A truly diverse field.
S is for shopping, which is available throughout the duration of the event. Hit the trade stands for some well-deserved retail therapy and maybe see a famous face or two!
T is for trot up – the first horse inspection takes place on Wednesday at 4.30pm and gives you the perfect opportunity to see which Badminton combinations are literally ‘hot to trot’ in front of the idyllic Badminton House back-drop. The final horse inspection will be on Sunday morning at 8.30am.
U is for the United States of America. This year, the USA have five combinations competing, all of which will be doing so for the first time. Best of luck to Hannah Sue Burnett, Kathryn Coleman, Lauren Kieffer, Lynn Symansky and Elisa Wallace… Go girls!
V is for Victoria Hanson, the winner of the popular competition to design this year’s final XC fence. Her stunning design, “The Mitsubishi Final Mount” will be the last test for combinations on Saturday.
W is for winner, who will receive the coveted badminton trophy, designed by Wiltshire-based sculptor, Judy Boyt. This particular trophy, was initially presented to the owner of the winning horse in 1992, when Mitsubishi became the title sponsors. It is arguably the most famous trophy in eventing: three silver horses representing each of the three disciplines.
X is for xtra-ordinary XC performance – Unconventional, we know, but we just had to fit this achievement in somewhere! In 1995, Mark Todd raced around the majority of the cross-country course with only one stirrup! He competes again this year with Leonidas II and NZB Campino… Fingers crossed he manages to keep both pairs of stirrups this year.
Y is for Yoshiaki Oiwa – The experienced Japanese rider will be the sole representative for his country at this year’s Badminton. At the London Olympics, he led proceedings after the dressage phase, so don’t be surprised if he chips in a competitive score.
Z is for Zagreb, the first ride of Badminton debutante, Alexander Bragg. The gelding will be the tallest horse to compete this year, standing at a staggering 17.3hh.
We hope this whets the appetite for the biggest eventing week of the year. We’ll be on site and on every social media platform to support, follow, cheer and applaud the elite combinations taking part.